I’ve had a strong fascination with math and engineering topics since an early age. I remember witnessing the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion while at elementary school in 3rd grade. In that moment, I knew I wanted to build amazing and sophisticated things that could help advance humanity, yet ones that wouldn’t break and cause harm to living things. By 5th grade, I was embarking on a project with a friend to build a bicycle-powered submersible for exploring Lake Coeur d’Alene, à la James Cameron’s quest to reach the Challenger Deep.
I graduated from high school in 1995 in Cd’A, ID, a place where the internet and computers were not readily available to someone at my family’s income level. Fast forward to my undergraduate years at Western Washington University, where I was studying engineering technology and advanced mathematics. I took a required entry level course in programming languages (C++), and something clicked. The coding assignments were challenging, but I was good at it and I found it satisfying to create something tangible that just worked. I soon switched majors to Math/C.S. and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in 2005.
Simultaneously, in 2002, I started the WWU Cycling Team which involved recruiting members, organizing rides, designing jerseys, onboarding sponsors, pitching budgets to the college, training and traveling the entire Northwest region to compete, hosting events, and maintaining the website. Within three years, I had built the first cycling team at WWU to qualify for USA Road Nationals in 2005, where I also competed. Our riders placed 1st and 2nd in the Division 2 road race.
My first endeavors in the professional realm were automating 3D models in SolidWorks using VB.NET, web app development with ASP.NET and MySQL as part of a consultancy team, and other front-end framework development with Ruby on Rails. I dabbled in graphic design with Photoshop and Illustrator.
In 2008, I was hired as a programmer at Saturna Capital, a local financial investment firm. Over the course of 12 years, I maintained then converted their internal customer and asset management functions off of a legacy database platform and onto more reliable, modern infrastructure (TypeScript/NodeJS/MySQL). Weaving fast-paced and cutting edge technology into a relatively conservative, highly secure, and heavily regulated environment has been one of my greatest challenges. I am happy their customers can now access and manage their investment portfolio online for a variety of account types (401k, Health Savings, Education Savings, etc.), as helping people save for the future and their family was highly rewarding. While I departed in July 2020 to pursue personal projects, my programs and architecture will likely run there (mostly) without flaw for years to come.
Simultaneously, I founded and directed the Cascade Cross Series (now retired), a collection of local cyclocross races running from October to January. Over the course of a decade while working full time, I hosted over 60 races, sometimes two in a month. This required managing venue bookings, insurance acquisition, rider registration, equipment rentals and transport, volunteer coordination, course prep and buildout, finish line scoring, course teardown, results calculation and publishing. Of course, I also maintained a custom website and results database (a fork of Racing on Rails) with overall season calculations by category for hundreds of participants. This was rewarding mainly due to being outdoors on the weekend and seeing many smiling, muddy faces after they experienced a very intense workout with A LOT of community support and camaraderie.
I am currently working in a real estate startup, obtaining my Master’s degree online, climbing mountains by foot, bike and ski, and building trails around my cabin in the woods. You can read about some of these endeavors below.
CTO = Collaborative Technology Officer
Ryan became passionate about this model after a few landmark events on his own journey in the sometimes rocky seas of home ownership.
The first was purchasing a home in 2005 with an 80/20 mortgage when young, newly married and graduated from WWU, and looking to start a family. My ex-wife and I bought near the peak of the national housing bubble that burst in 2008, leading to a divorce and forcing us to short sell our home at a significant loss for both us (we had made significant improvements) and the lender.
It took 10 years before I was willing and able to buy again. The next model I tried was buying a rundown ski cabin on one acre in the woods way out in Maple Falls, WA (aka, the middle of nowhere) near the base of Mt. Baker on seller financing (meaning I paid my mortgage to the family who inherited this spot, not a bank). The original intention was to pair up with friends on this project, but being unsure of how to navigate that legally and the land being fairly cheap to buy outright, I went in solo. I am still inviting friends out regularly to contribute to the project.
Midterm Project - Coal Jobs & 2016 Voting Data on Tableau
Final Project - Coal Jobs & 2016 Voting Data in D3
Final Project: Open Charge Map data in NestJS/MongoDB